Ripley’s Entertainment Inc.
12,500 m² (135,000 ft²)
Structural Engineering Consultant
Located at the base of the CN Tower in downtown Toronto, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada has been a resounding success since opening day, attracting millions of visitors annually. The two-level aquarium includes exhibits containing more than 1.5 million gallons (5.7 million litres) of water to create marine and freshwater habitats from around the world. These habitats will feature more than 13,500 exotic sea and freshwater creatures. Prominent among these habitats is the 750,000 gallon (2.84 million litre) Shark Lagoon, which features a 315-foot (96-metre) long moving walkway through an acrylic tunnel. The aquarium’s dramatic, angular sweeping form and wide variety of interior spaces presented a number of unique features and challenges. The architectural form, for instance, consists of a multi-faceted shell clad in large aluminum panels. This is but one of the design details that makes the aquarium geometrically complex and necessitated the development of a sophisticated steel and concrete structural system.
Challenge: Satisfy a variety of unique architectural design and programming requirements, both interior and exterior.
Solution: The challenges this project presented lent themselves well to BIM technologies. The design team used SketchUp, REVIT, TEKLA and other software to develop contract documents and carry out interdisciplinary design coordination. Also, the release of various digital models and construction simulation animations helped to communicate design intent to building contractors.